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Much of 2010 was spent learning more and more details about Chevrolet's exciting new range-extended electric car, the Volt. Towards the end of the year our colleagues at GreenCarReports finally got to drive the vehicle, and more recently the first owners have taken delivery.
So what do owners think? We've kept our eye on GM-Volt.com, the main ownership resource for Chevy Volt owners and enthusiasts. And even so soon after taking delivery, we're starting to see what owners think of their new cars.
Initial impressions are encouraging. For a start, drivers seem to like their Volts! One could say this is obvious, as you wouldn't buy something you don't like, but even a few days of ownership can occasionally throw up issues that you never noticed on a brief test drive. We've all had cars with niggles that you can initially ignore but increasingly irk the longer you experience them.
The Volt isn't completely free of these niggles - GM-Volt user honoreitiscom has been comparing his new Volt to his previous car, a 2004 Toyota Prius. Though he prefers the Volt overall, he does criticize the fuel mileage, the Volt only getting 35 miles per gallon on longer trips compared to the 45 of his old Prius. The interior also comes in for some criticism, including a busy center stack with buttons that are a little too easy to bump, and a needlessly large and "clunky" gear selector.
Indeed, a number of the new Volt owners appear to have owned hybrid vehicles previously, all proving interesting and relevant comparisons.
Economy and range
Unsurprisingly, the topic of range comes up often. honoreitiscom
cites the 15-50 mile all-electric range as a major plus after the limited EV range of the Prius, and further on in his forum thread, user DanFowler
says that he's used only 3.7 gallons in the 498 miles since picking up his Volt on December 21.
To save you the math, that's just under 135 miles per gallon - dramatically demonstrating the advantages of even a relatively short EV range. For comparison, his previous Prius and Civic Hybrid managed 47.5 and 44 mpg respectively. And the more local driving you do, the more impressive your relative economy becomes. Chevrolet came in for criticism of its "230 mpg City" claim
, and rightly so - but it's certainly not beyond possibility that some owners will see figures like this, or possibly even greater.
Many owners are enjoying the benefits of the "Low" function on the gearshift, which maximises regenerative braking, almost allowing single-pedal driving. Most owners seem to be using this function almost exclusively, with occasional forays into Sport mode to enjoy the impressive performance on offer.
Center stack aside, remarks about the interior are generally positive. The stereo is apparently powerful and offers great sound, and the USB port and internal hard-drive are welcome features too.
The traffic warnings allow you to maximize your economy too, proving useful for directing you around heavy traffic, and even offering weather forecasts for your journey and local amenities. Chevrolet's OnStar connectivity
is popular too, and is described on GM-Volt as "your own personal concierge".
First impressions for the 2011 Chevrolet Volt then are very impressive, even despite some little issues. Range certainly varies, but the more local journeys you do, the more savings you'll make, and you're sure to enjoy all the advanced features, making ownership a joy.
We'll leave the last word to forum user honoreitiscom
again, who sums up his experiences nicely: "I'm so glad I traded up to this car!"
For more on the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, check out our Ultimate Reference Guide.